by Amber

I will admit that the first time I heard about the cohort system at GCSW, I did not have any idea of how would that benefit the Masters level students. Were we supposed to be back in a high school setting? The first day that my cohort met was the day of summer orientation, which is when we came to know that we will have all our classes together for the next four months. While we had the opportunity to meet during a scavenger hunt and share our fears and excitement about the upcoming experience, we knew very little about each other. For the first few weeks, most of our conversations were about the coursework and assignments. However, by the end of the first month, we knew a lot more about each other and our reasons to pursue social work. It felt relieving to talk to people who had the same passion and commitment towards the field.

Each one of the students had interesting backgrounds and experiences to share. Between and after classes, we would mostly meet in the student lounge and talk just about anything. We didn’t hesitate to ask for second opinions from other cohort members on projects, as we knew we would get honest feedback. We helped each other get accustomed to Blackboard, and many of us got involved in the GCSW student organizations.

Now, as we’re in the second semester and are not part of our cohort anymore, most of us still see each other at or after school. Most of us had planned the spring schedule together and hence many of my cohort members are together in the same classes. Nearly half of us have made it our self care ritual to meet at least once a month at Lodge 88 to play bingo and just have fun together. After spending four months in a cohort system, I have become a big fan of it. I think that first year students can greatly benefit from being in a cohort system. Being part of a cohort provides an opportunity to closely get to know student colleagues with diverse personal and professional experiences and build some everlasting friendships.